There is this belief that anything exotic has to be far away from home. All it takes is a little research and you will be surprised at all the exotic things you could do closer to home. This is especially true in India, where culture, language, customs, and cuisines change almost every 200 kilometres.
While exotic travel vacations could be expensive, it does not have to be. A good place to begin, is to stay in hostels wherever possible. Another way, is to substitute the usual travel hangouts in these destinations for lesser known locations. Some places, like East Asia, are really light on the wallet. It is the packaged tours that make them look expensive. A little bit of research and you will have a dream vacation on a discounted price!!
Travel is as much about understanding the outside world as it is about comprehending oneself and our relation to all things around us. Travelling alone also gives you the opportunity to do what you want, which might not be possible in a group. You can also control the pace of your exploration and this will lead to a more relaxed and deeply enjoyable experience. Take a small day trip to a location close to your home and see if travelling alone is your calling.
While it is always better to be on your guard, there is a lot more fun to be had on a trip if there is someone local to help or accompany you. There are more than enough honest people in this world, it is just a matter of finding them. If your friends have done the trip, then source them for information. Sometimes you can find good local contacts online. But the best ones are always the friendships that are made over a cup of chai by the roadside.
An adventure does not always have to be about bungee jumping from a high metal bridge into a deep gorge. Adventure is about doing something you have not done before. If you have never gone on a trek, an adventure would be to go on a day trek to a small hill near your house. Adventure does not have to be an activity that scares the living daylights out of you, it could be something that challenges you and in doing so, helps discover another side of your personality that you never knew existed.
Do not approach a vacation as an activity on your work day calendar. A trip does not mean that you have to see all the 300 odd things that a place is famous for, in a single visit. No matter how much you run around, there will always be some monument that you did not know about or some important fort that you missed. Pick a few locations that interest you and spend as much time exploring them as possible. A vacation is all about doing what you like at your own pace, not a list of been there, seen it, and done that; which can be posted for your friends on social media to admire.
You do not need an exotic destination to enjoy simple acts of nature. There are lots of places closer home, where you could drive and have a nice time. It could be a visit to the local beach with friends or a drive to a nearby hill to enjoy a sunrise/sunset or a short trek with friends or a bike trip to the outskirts of the city. These short trips and escapades will keep you motivated to travel and explore.
While you might not want to do any research if you are going on a vacation for sun and sands, it helps a lot to do some reading\research beforehand for most of the destinations. If your itinerary includes places of historical importance, temples, churches, mosques, places of architectural interest, etc., a little homework goes a long way in ensuring you are not being taken for a ride. Additionally, you can always rely on local guides to describe the various aspects of these destinations. A little research before the trip also lets you have a mental list of places that interest you and thus help you be better prepared for the outing.